June 14, 2002; Plover, WI - Troy Nelson of Antigo, Wisconsin was no doubt excited when he exited his car in victory lane at Golden Sands Speedway after the Super Late Model feature event on Friday Night. Nelson, who is driving his first full season at Sands in several years came out on top of a classic battle with two-time track champion and fast qualifier Mark Eswein to capture the contest on Terrace Homes Nights at the races. The feature victory also the first for car owner Tim Satorius at Golden Sands. In Super Stock action it was Jason Kirsling making a break for the front of the main event near the midway point and then holding on for his first feature win of the 2002 season.
Some wild two man Cruiser action and the Iron Man Jump for distance competition rounded out the nights activities. In the event many drivers impressed the fans with some wild jumps off a three foot high ramp, but it was Waiter Kaiman, also known as "Crazy K", who jumped the furthest going some 60 feet through the air in his Camaro before touching ground to win the competition.
Starting out the evening the weekly Fan Appreciation prizes were awarded to Carissa Cantv who was the Junior Fan Club Member of the Week, Eric Weiland who won the WAL-MART Gift Certificate and Danielle Zimmerman who won the River City Motors Wisconsin Rapids Camber Gift Certificate.
The evening opened with Eswein earning fast qualifying honors for the fourth straight week, topping the 28 car Late Model field. Eswein opted not to take the Hot N' Now Ultimate Challenge which was worth $800 if he could come from the back of the pack and win the feature, but indicated that next week he would should he set fast time again as the feature race will be 50 laps.
In the Super Stocks is was Shawn Stelzer who continued to be undefeated in qualifying for the class setting the quick time over 31 entrants tonight. Stelzer did take the Point Shell/Turbo Wash Challenge which had been worth $400, but mechanical problems kept him from finishing the feature race so the prize went unclaimed.
It was a 15 car field taking the green for the 30 lap Late Model main event. Polesitter Burton Brown and outside front row starter Greg Weinfurter fought tooth and nail for the initial lead. Brown bolted into the initial lead with Weinfurter giving chase. The pair made contact on the backstretch on lap three allowing Brown to gain a slight advantage, but on the next lap Weinfurter muscled his way by for the top spot through turns one and two to take the top position.
Meanwhile Allen Check had moved past Benjamin Brinkman for the third spot watching the battle ahead. The lead duo of Weinfurter and Brown made contact again causing both to slow and allowing Check to motor by both of them and into the top spot on lap eight. Weinfurter, whose car began smoking with a tire rubbing dropped off pace and out of the event by lap ten. Brown meanwhile had slipped behind Nelson and Eswein who assumed the second and third positions behind Check.
Nelson, who had qualified second this evening was on a mission, running down Check on the backstretch on lap 12 and powering into the lead with an inside move. Eswein, was quick to follow moving into the runner-up spot on the following lap. It appeared that Eswein was in position to take the lead as he dropped to the inside lane and got under Nelson on lap 14. The pair ran side by side with Nelson running the high line and Eswein hugging the bottom of the turns.
Neither was able to gain a clear advantage and on several occasions the crossed the line in a near dead heat. Eswein was credited with leading a couple laps by a few inches before lap 20 before Nelson again nosed ahead on lap 22. While the lead battle was taking place a similar battle was shaping up between Brown who held third and Jeremy Lepak who was challenging for position. Lepak settled the battle for third with two laps to go moving by Brown on the outside for the spot.
The contest up front however remained undecided. As the white flag flew Nelson had the largest advantage he had enjoyed since taking the lead as he placed his car out front of Eswein. Eswein however made one more attempt to gain the top spot through the final two turns, diving to the bottom again. His charge came up a half car length short as Nelson took the victory.
It marked the second straight event that Eswein had engaged in a battle for the top spot that lasted over half the feature distance. The fans heartily applauded both Nelson and Eswein for their efforts after the event, as both drivers proved their sportsmanship on the track with clean, hard racing in the non-stop contest.
Lepak finished the race in third some six car lengths back, followed by Brown in fourth. Benjamin Brinkman made another solid showing claiming fifth and Greg Back, who had made the feature by transferring through the semi-feature charged through the field to gain sixth.
While the Super Late Model feature went non-stop, the Super Stock contest was spiced with several spins and tangles which slowed it's pace. Brian Ganski, opened up the initial lead with rookie Galen Manternatch giving chase. The first caution appeared on lap three as Tim Hintz and Tim Plowman made contact. Plowman went spinning down the backstretch and collected Brian Stroik who had moments earlier won the semi-feature. Both Hintz and Plowman were able to continue from the back of the pack, while Stroik retired for the evening.
The race resumed with Ganski while Merle Weinfurter and Manternatch followed. Manternatch good a great start and used the outside line to surpass both Weinfurter and Ganski for the top position on lap five. A Jeremy Szymkowiak spin slowed the pace again briefly on lap nine. A wild restart saw cars scatter everywhere forcing another caution. Among those collected were current point leader Randy Storlie who would be officially credited with 14th place, but would retain his point lead.
Kirsling meanwhile had slowly become a factor picking his way patiently through cars. When the green flag again flew, he used the outside line to put himself in position to take the top spot. He motored by both Weinfurter and Manternatch to grab the lead before lap ten began and began to pull away from the pack behind him. At the same time Stelzer, the nights fast qualifier pulled off the track while running fifth.
Kirsling motored away while Weinfurter slipped into the second spot and Keith Bohmsach began to make his presence felt at the front of the pack by moving to third on lap 13. Bohmsach, who had rebuilt his car after a grinding crash last week seemed to have the pieces together in the right manner as he moved around Weinfurter for second on lap 15.
During the final ten laps however Kirsling was able to maintain a comfortable lead taking the victory. Bohmsach finished second and Hintz rebounded from his earlier troubles to earn third. His third place finish moved him within two points of the current point lead. Weinfurter and Manternatch would round out the top five runners this evening.
The team of Cory and Klug handily won the first 2-Man Cruiser main event over Pingel and Kirsling. It was Kirlsing who moments earlier had won the Super Stock main event operating the gas pedal in the Pingel driven machine. The third place team of Field and Schulst maintained the point lead by a single point. In the second feature it was perennial favorites Blenker and Kampert besting Mroczenski and Engman, while the final Cruiser main event was awarded to relatives of the second feature winner as the names assigned to the car read Kampert and Blenker.
Next week is the Copp's Foods Mid-Season Championship races. A 50 lap feature contest for the Late Models with an increased payout is scheduled for the evening. The Super Stocks will also run an extended distance feature contest. Joining the Super Late Models and Super Stock will be the 4 Cylinder class. Time trials are set for 6:30 p.m., with the first green flag of the evening scheduled for 7:45 p.m.
Golden Sands Speedway known as Central Wisconsin's Power Playground is located between Wisconsin Rapids and Plover, Wisconsin on Highway 54. For additional information please call (715) 423-4660 or consult the track website at www.goldensandsspeedway.com